Karli Gabica

Asante Outpatient Rehabiliatation, Meford, OR

image of Karli Gabica

Karli works as a Speech Language Pathology Graduate Student Clinician at her practicum.

Why did you choose this placement?
I chose this location to be closer to home and because I wanted to be in another hospital setting working with adult patients. I was in inpatient rehab and acute care setting this summer, and I wanted to see the next plan of care for these patients, which is usually some sort of outpatient rehabilitation care.

Outline of your role and responsibilities at your practicum.
My responsibilities at my placement consists of assessing and treating adult patients while keeping documentation of each visit. The majority of the patients have Parkinson's Disease, stroke, ALS, or other neurological disorders. Typically, these patients are coming into outpatient rehabilitation for their swallowing disorders (dysphagia), voice disorders, or cognitive/language disorders. We run through oral motor exercises with them and manage their food/liquid intake through diet changes or compensatory strategies. As a student, my role is to perform the treatment and assessment with the help of my supervisor. He scaffolds my learning so that I am able to make appropriate clinical decisions that are individualized and the best for each patient.

How has Saint Mary's College prepared you for this practicum?
Saint Mary's prepared me for this practicum with the coursework and case studies we did in each course. My placement consisted mainly of swallowing and voice disorders. The dysphagia course at SMC was very thorough and prepared me for several of the obstacles I came across. My supervisor was very happy with the knowledge I have acquired from my dysphagia course. A big part of these placements is paperwork and documenting everything properly for insurance, law, and doctors. The technical writing skills I gained from SMC helped tremendously. 

As we abruptly had to end our semester due to COVID-19, I feel fully prepared to go into this field as a speech language pathologist. While there is always information and learning to do, I am thankful for my time, coursework, and professors at Saint Mary's. It is a very sad time that we had to cancel our last few weeks of our placement as I had developed professional relationships with my colleagues at Asante in Medford, Oregon, but I am happy that they are able to support me through the rest of my career. Saint Mary's did a wonderful job ensuring we completed our competencies and hours to graduate on time to receive our diplomas. 

If you could go back to the beginning of this externship, for what would you tell yourself to be prepared? 
If I could go back to the beginning of my externship, I would tell myself to be more prepared for swallowing and voice disorders related to Parkinson's Disease and ALS. The majority of our clients had these diseases and I would have liked to be brushed up on these disorders to effectively understand the purpose of each technique we discussed in therapy. I learned so much throughout the duration of my externship revolving around this question so I am happy I can continue learning. However, knowing more and having these skills prior to the start of my externship would have benefitted me in the long run.